Effective Science communication depends on a number of factors. Among them is the importance of accurate scientific information available in the public arena. However, often people who write popular science books and articles are themselves not experts, and more often than not, the public get a rather "watered down" version of the science. Ideally, scientist themselves should write up their work in an accessible manner for the general public. However, this is highly problematic since not many scientists are able to do this. Although I don’t advocate that all popular science writing should be by scientists, I believe it imperative that science writers work closely with scientists to ensure an effective, accurate translation of the research for public engagement. In my area of research it is probably easier, because of the huge public interest in prehistoric animals, and dinosaurs in particular. Indeed, many dinosaur paleontologists are adept at writing scientifically, but often also communicate with the general public about their work. In South Africa we are faced with the challenge of increasing human resources in Science (especially from previously disadvantaged communities). Given that it is now widely recognized that for many children dinosaurs are the stepping stone into science, and one can stimulate and excite young people about science through dinosaurs, I decided to write a book that focused exclusively on African dinosaurs. Much to my dismay at the various public talks that I have given in South Africa, I realized that children do not know about the incredible richness of our own dinosaur heritage, and more often than not, are incapable of naming even a single "African" or "South African" dinosaur. Thus the purpose of my book is to instill a sense of pride in dinosaurs discovered in Africa, and to highlight the ones that are famous the world over, and through dinosaurs, to excite young people about science in general. Besides the use of simple, accessible language, and important feature of the book are the fantastic illustrations that have been done by Luis Rey who is an extremely talented artist who has breathed "life" into these long dead animals. Furthermore, his realistic rendition of the African dinosaurs reflects current scientifically accurate information about these long dead animals.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Popular science writing
Dinosaurs of Africa

Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan   University of Cape Town

Effective Science communication depends on a number of factors. Among them is the importance of accurate scientific information available in the public arena. However, often people who write popular science books and articles are themselves not experts, and more often than not, the public get a rather "watered down" version of the science. Ideally, scientist themselves should write up their work in an accessible manner for the general public. However, this is highly problematic since not many scientists are able to do this. Although I don’t advocate that all popular science writing should be by scientists, I believe it imperative that science writers work closely with scientists to ensure an effective, accurate translation of the research for public engagement. In my area of research it is probably easier, because of the huge public interest in prehistoric animals, and dinosaurs in particular. Indeed, many dinosaur paleontologists are adept at writing scientifically, but often also communicate with the general public about their work. In South Africa we are faced with the challenge of increasing human resources in Science (especially from previously disadvantaged communities). Given that it is now widely recognized that for many children dinosaurs are the stepping stone into science, and one can stimulate and excite young people about science through dinosaurs, I decided to write a book that focused exclusively on African dinosaurs. Much to my dismay at the various public talks that I have given in South Africa, I realized that children do not know about the incredible richness of our own dinosaur heritage, and more often than not, are incapable of naming even a single "African" or "South African" dinosaur. Thus the purpose of my book is to instill a sense of pride in dinosaurs discovered in Africa, and to highlight the ones that are famous the world over, and through dinosaurs, to excite young people about science in general. Besides the use of simple, accessible language, and important feature of the book are the fantastic illustrations that have been done by Luis Rey who is an extremely talented artist who has breathed "life" into these long dead animals. Furthermore, his realistic rendition of the African dinosaurs reflects current scientifically accurate information about these long dead animals.

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